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Braves' Game 1 starter Charlie Morton suffers broken leg, ruled out for World Series

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Charlie Morton's World Series came to an abrupt end after he broke his right leg in Tuesday's Game 1.

The Atlanta Braves starter saw his night end at 44 pitches after an awkward follow-through on a pitch in the bottom of the third inning. The Braves later announced that X-rays revealed a right fibula fracture. He won't pitch again in the World Series.

The injury was bad news on an otherwise good night for the Braves, who took a 1-0 lead in the Fall Classic with a 6-2 win.

What happened?

Morton nearly fell to the mound after striking out Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve with a curveball for the first out of the third inning.

It ended up being his last pitch of the night. He left the game after a short meeting on the mound.

Morton kept pitching well after suffering injury on comebacker

Morton initially suffered the injury when a comebacker on a Yuli Gurriel ground ball hit his right ankle the previous inning. 

That play led to the first out of the inning. Morton tallied two more outs in the second on his injured leg, striking out Chas McCormick before inducing a lineout from Martín Maldonado to end the inning.

He then returned to strike out Altuve in the third before the pain became too much to bear. In total, Morton threw 16 pitches across two innings on his injured leg including a 96 mph fastball.

Morton finished his night with three strikeouts and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. Braves batters tallied two home runs en route to the 5-0 lead before Morton was forced to exit the game.

Oct 26, 2021; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) comes off the field after sustaining an apparent injury against the Houston Astros during the third inning in game one of the 2021 World Series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Charlie Morton left Tuesday's Game 1 with one out in the third inning. (Troy Taormina/Reuters)

Tough blow for Braves

Morton, 37, led the Braves with 185 2/3 innings pitched across 33 starts during the regular season. The two-time All-Star tallied a 3.34 ERA, 1.045 WHIP and a 14-6 record in the regular season while recording a team-high 216 strikeouts alongside 58 walks. 

Beyond that, Morton was also the Braves' most experienced starter in the postseason by a wide margin, holding a 3.45 ERA in 75.2 innings

In addition to the obvious blow of losing Morton, his early exit put an unexpected strain on the Braves bullpen in the first game of the series.